Times have changed since I was a child. Though that wasn’t long ago (I’m only two decades old), it seems pretty distant. When I was under the age of 10 I was watching television shows like: Goosebumps, Are you Afraid of the Dark, Sailor Moon, Carebears, Ducktails, Ninja Turtles, Saved by the Bell, USA high, Fresh Prince of Bellair, Family Matters, Step by Step, Boy Meets World, and the list goes on. Television was somewhat saturated by sex, violence, and teenage drug use, but not so, that my parents had to censor what we watched. Yes there were shows that I wasn’t allowed to look at, but even then, the shows–if they had the ability to be rated–were PG-13. Nothing overly violent or sexual, but just not something my parents were comfortable with me watching. I did rebel–quite often–and late at night you could find me browsing the channel guide, trying to find whatever television show was “naughty” or “off-limits”, but even then these shows were PG-13 shows: Buffy, Charmed, etc.
These days it seems as though television has transformed into something entirely too sexy, violent, and disturbing. And like the internet, it’s extremely accessible to children. On television channels like ABC, NBC, and FOX–channels that most people have without having to pay a chunk of change–there are television shows that contain sex scenes, violent scenes, and/or teenagers rebelling and using drugs. What makes this a bit disturbing, is that these types of shows are shown before nine–when most children are off to bed. This means that children are privy to as much sex, violence, and drugs that their little minds can handle before bedtime . This also means that parents are having to be more restrictive and selective about the type of televisions shows they’d like their children to watch and the times at which the children can watch television. This also means, that parents have to DO more to make sure that there child isn’t being exposed to “subject matters” that simply aren’t appropriate.
While we can easily blame these networks, and society as a whole for transforming into something that is a bit scary(for the future generation)–we must also take responsibility as parents for what we are ALLOWING our children to watch. Not all of us have the ability to stay at home, and censor channels. Not all of have the time to REALLY monitor what channels they are watching. But, it is important that we note and acknowledge that television is different from when we were children, and that calls for a “special” type of parenting. I don’t like the word “censor” because of the stigma, but it seems appropriate for this particular topic. Parents must censor what their children watch, the channels their children look at, and the times at which the children are allowed to watch television. As drastic as it seems, it feels necessary that this happens, especially for households where the children are under age 9.
Parents are you censoring what your children watch? Are you shocked by some of the subject matter in some of the “general mainstream” networks? What are you doing to make sure that your child isn’t exposed to “too much” too young?